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Explore Public Affairs and Policy Management at Carleton University

Programs / Public Affairs and Policy Management

Program Summary

The influence of public policy is pervasive in our society. It affects the quality of the air we breathe and the water we drink. It affects prosperity and the extent of poverty, as well as our access to education and medical care. It shapes the impact and pace of technological change. It determines the duties and powers of our officials at home and overseas. It influences the pace of technological change, the reach and practical meaning of our rights, and the extent of poverty. As a student in the Bachelor of Public Affairs and Policy Management program (BPAPM), you will examine a wide variety of issues facing society today, as well as institutional challenges, and develop the necessary skills and knowledge to address them.

The BPAPM does this through a curriculum that combines interdisciplinary study of civic institutions and processes with rigorous study of public policy. A selection of courses in political science, economics, law, communications, and history is combined with exclusive courses in public policy. Together, these courses will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of what government, civil and business organizations do, why they do it, and how they might do it better.

The BPAPM program is located in the Arthur Kroeger College of Public Affairs, which provides an academic home for our students who come from across Canada and abroad. The university college is ancient in conception, characteristic of universities such as Oxford and Cambridge, and following this model our students belong to a select scholarly community. They have exclusive and direct access to academic advising, dedicated student meeting space and an electronic resource centre.

With an average of B or better after first year, you can apply for a student exchange. This involves spending one or two terms studying public affairs at one of Carleton’s partner institutions around the world.

Ottawa provides an unparalleled range of practical policy-related co-op opportunities with governmental and nongovernmental organizations. Our students also have access to a wide range of internships, including international placements in locations such as Peru, China, and Ghana.

Explore the Bachelor of Public Affairs and Policy Management at Carleton University

Our program offers four specializations, each containing concentrations that reflect specific policy areas within the broader specialization field.

Communication and Policy Studies

  • Concentration in Communication Technologies and Regulation
  • Concentration in Strategic Public Opinion

Development Policy Studies

  • Concentration in Rights and Human Development
  • Concentration in Global Economic Relations

International Policy Studies

  • Concentration in International Relations and Conflict
  • Concentration in Security and Intelligence

Public Policy and Administration

  • Concentration in Social Policy
  • Concentration in Economic Policy
  • Concentration in Environmental and Sustainable Energy Policy

The Bachelor of Public Affairs and Policy Management (BPAPM) is a limited enrolment program which combines the interdisciplinary study of public affairs with an in-depth examination of policy. It includes a rich array of experiential learning opportunities that take full advantage of Carleton University’s location in the nation’s capital. A degree in Public Affairs and Policy Management is versatile, and will open the door to careers in public service, politics, non-governmental sectors, or further graduate and professional studies.

Carleton is well known for its teaching and research strengths in the area of public affairs. Instructors and supervisors in the BPAPM program come from across the Faculty of Public Affairs at Carleton, bringing depth and breadth of knowledge and experience to the classroom.

Many combine their academic expertise in public affairs with hands-on understanding, having worked as arbitrators, journalists, senior advisors or commentators on numerous national and international policy issues.

Collegial atmosphere

The Arthur Kroeger College of Public Affairs at Carleton University is the academic home for students in the BPAPM program. The College offers specialized academic advising, an electronic resource centre and a range of speakers and workshops. It also provides a collegial setting in which you will be joined by approximately 100 Canadian and international students who are equally interested in bettering their society by improving public policy. Established in 1999, the College was named in honour of Arthur Kroeger (1932-2008), the seventh Chancellor of the university and a public servant of singular distinction. Known as “the Dean of Deputy Ministers,” he held that post for six federal ministries from 1975 until 1992, and as such was one of the architects of Canada as we have inherited it. A wise and generous man, he was involved in all aspects of College life, sharing his expertise, advising students and setting the tone of professionalism, congeniality and high standards that characterize the College today. The example
he set in his work and his life continues to inspire students and faculty in the College that bears his name.

Student mentors

An added feature of our BPAPM program is our mentorship program. First-year students are matched with a volunteer third- or fourth-year student from within the College. These upper-year mentors are available to answer questions, offer advice and share
experiences.

Student society

The Arthur Kroeger College Educational Student Society (AKCESS) is at the heart of the social and academic life of the College. Every year, AKCESS hosts several events that give students an opportunity to explore public policy: the MP Night featuring Members of Parliament from the major parties in a panel discussion, and the Policy Forum examining international or national policy issues. In addition to academic activities, AKCESS organizes social activities for Kroeger College students.

Living in the national capital enables you to combine the study and practice of public affairs.

Proximity to Parliament Hill allows students to work as House of Commons or Senate Pages or on the staff of federal politicians. The presence of many federal departments and agencies, along with the government-relations offices of private corporations, and the head offices of nongovernmental and non-profit organizations, provide a wide range of opportunities for co-op and contract work. These institutions, together with a host of foreign embassies and high commissions, enrich the academic environment, offering immediate access to information, expertise and a range of on-campus speakers.

Candidates for the BPAPM degree complete 20.0 academic credits and satisfy a second-language requirement, which is usually but not always French. The language requirement may be met by successfully completing an approved French language credit (FREN 1100) or equivalent; demonstrating a certain level of competency in a second language; or successfully completing French Immersion in high school or possessing a Bilingual Diploma or Certificate.

The academic credits consist of foundation courses exclusive to the degree (4.0 credits), designated courses in certain disciplines (5.5 credits), courses within a chosen area of specialization (6.5 credits), and free electives (4.0 credits).

Specializations

After your first year of public affairs studies, which include an introduction to political and economic conceptions of the state and public policy and interdisciplinary understandings of public institutions and processes, you will begin to focus your studies by selecting a specialization and one of nine related policy areas. The specializations, and related policy concentration areas, accommodate a wide range of policy interests and prepare you for a number of possible career paths.

COMMUNICATION AND POLICY STUDIES

This specialization in communication policies, in collaboration with Carleton’s School of Journalism and Communication, enables you to pursue a policy concentration in Communication Technologies and Regulation or Strategic Public Opinion. Broadcasting, telecommunications, internet, information systems, publishing, the impact of digital and other technological transformations, and regulatory regimes and rights are examined in the Communication Technologies and Regulation concentration. Studies in the Strategic Public Opinion concentration enable you to make a difference by learning about effective policy advocacy and persuasion, strategic communication, polling and opinion research, political campaigns and market intelligence.

DEVELOPMENT POLICY STUDIES

Explore the policies that are designed to improve conditions in underdeveloped countries or disadvantaged communities domestically. A concentration in Rights and Human Development explores the human rights, legal and political aspects of development issues internationally and on a comparative national or regional level. The Global Economic Relations concentration focuses on the economic dimensions of globalization and the local impact of international trade, finance and monetary policies.

INTERNATIONAL POLICY STUDIES

In collaboration with Carleton’s graduate Norman Paterson School of International Affairs program, this specialization enables you to examine the international issues and policy challenges facing states and international institutions in an increasingly connected world. A concentration in International Relations and Conflict examines international responses to, and management of, problems related to international peace and conflict. The Security and Intelligence concentration enables you to focus on policy responses to terrorism, international and national security and defence policies, intelligence operations, their legal and constitutional impact and implications for civil liberties.

PUBLIC POLICY AND ADMINISTRATION

This specialization draws from the expertise in Carleton’s graduate School of Public Policy and Administration and other units, provides comprehensive understanding of pressing public issues of concern to Canadian governments and NGOs, and develops related analytical and managerial public policy skills. The Social Policy concentration focuses on social welfare and income security, health and education policies. The Economic Policy concentration examines public operations and activities under federal, provincial and municipal jurisdictions, related fiscal and taxation issues, and relations between public and private sectors. The concentration in Environmental and Sustainable Energy Policy explores local, regional, national and international environmental and energy policies, the protection of air, water, and land-based eco-systems, the management of energy demands and sustainable alternative sources.

Co-op opportunities

With an average of B+ or better after first year, you can participate in the Co-operative Education option within the BPAPM. This involves completing three four-month paid work terms with public, private or third sector organizations involved in public affairs. Although they extend the duration of your degree program, these work terms enable you to apply what you study, gain practical experience and establish professional contacts.

Study Abroad

Carleton has agreements with universities around the world to help you earn your degree abroad. With an average of B or better after first year, you can apply for a student exchange. This involves spending one or two terms studying public affairs in a university located in Asia, Africa, the Americas or Europe. These study terms enrich your life experience and allow you to view Canadian public policies and priorities in a comparative context.

Nexos Voluntarios

Each summer, Kroeger College sends a complement of students to live, learn and work in the high Andes through the NGO Nexos Voluntarios. Students selected for these subsidized internships live in the Nexos compound in Urubamba and work on a number of different community development projects, from combating racism directed at the indigenous people of Peru to improving nutrition.

Internships

Graduates of the BPAPM program have also had great success in landing internships available at many different organizations. Internships offer the opportunity to gain work experience in an area of interest, to travel to a variety of locations and to meet people already working in the field. Over the last few years, Carleton graduates have taken up internships in China, Ghana, Tanzania, Nicaragua, Tajikistan and Timor-Leste.

Graduates of the BPAPM have a wide choice in where they go next.

Some have decided to enter the work force immediately upon graduation, accepting employment offers from political parties, government departments, the armed forces, private corporations and a range of both national and international agencies.

Others decide to continue their studies, following the academic or professional interests they confirmed or discovered during the BPAPM program. At universities in Canada and abroad, they have entered law schools, as well as graduate programs in a variety of policy-related fields that include communications, international relations, legal studies, political science, public administration, business and urban studies.

What students are saying about Public Affairs and Policy Management


In the past year, I have had the pleasure of working in the parliamentary office of a Member of Parliament on Parliament Hill. Being a staffer, I was responsible for conducting parliamentary research, writing speeches, and completing general administrative work in order to support the daily functions of the office. As a BPAPM student, this experience was invaluable as it allowed me to practically apply the different theoretical concepts that I was learning in my classes to the federal political process. My experience on Parliament Hill truly gave meaning to my first year and has allowed me to thrive in my academic studies.
Mackenzie Mumby, Public Affairs and Policy Management student